In Depth

The most popular British royals as the Platinum Jubilee begins

The Queen remains nation’s favourite while Harry and Meghan’s popularity plummets

As she prepares to celebrate 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth is the nation’s favourite royal.

A flurry of polling this week found that support for the monarchy remains strong. However, some members of the Royal Family have taken serious hits to their popularity.

According to YouGov, six in ten Britons think the country should retain the monarchy in the future, with the proportion higher among Conservatives and over-65s. Over the past decade, young people have become less sure that the Royal Family is good for Britain.

Another survey from YouGov, of 1,692 adults carried out on 18 and 19 May, found that the Queen has a net favourability rating of 69, far higher than her eldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, who scored just 19. Here is how the rest of the main royals ranked. 

Queen Elizabeth II (net favourability: 69) 

Queen Elizabeth

The Queen sits at the head of both the Royal Family and the polls. She topped the YouGov rankings, as well as a similar Ipsos survey published yesterday. The latter dug deeper to find out what makes her so popular. Two in five respondents said she was a good representative of Britain on the world stage, and united people across the country. “Having been known to the public for her whole life and a Head of State for 70 years, it’s not a surprise that Queen Elizabeth II is currently Britain’s favourite member of the Royal Family,” said the polling firm.

Prince William (59)

Prince William

William is second in line to the throne and second in terms of popularity. He remains far more popular than his father, Prince Charles, who comes in fifth place. “The British public tend to think both princes will make good kings should they ascend to the throne, but there is significantly more confidence in William than Charles,” said the Daily Mail.

Catherine (55)

Kate Middleton

2011 Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge follows the Queen and her husband on the list, as her popularity has rocketed over the past year. As well as carrying out royal duties, she has dedicated her time to supporting a number of charitable causes and organisations, with a particular focus on mental health and children.

Prince Edward (27)

Prince Edward

The Queen’s youngest child has attracted less press attention than his two brothers, but has stepped up his public outings in recent months. He was by his mother’s side for the opening of the Elizabeth Line and has taken over from his late father as president of the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Prince Charles (19)

2013 Getty Images

The Queen’s future successor, Prince Charles, came out in fifth place, followed closely by his wife, Camilla (9), after he was called in at the last minute to read out the Queen’s Speech in parliament last month. “Despite his best efforts, the Prince of Wales still does not command the kind of popularity that his mother has enjoyed,” wrote Emma Mackenzie for The Independent. While he does seem to be “deftly handling” the duties he is taking on for his mother, “there is something about him that the British public do not respond to in the same way they do the Queen.”

Negative figures

The net favourability rating of the Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, has fallen to -26, while his wife, Meghan, trails behind with -42.

As they fly from their home in California to the UK for the jubilee, the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is “at an all-time low”, said Camilla Tominey, associate editor at The Telegraph. She noted that the couple will join “the rest of the Royal family at official events for the first time since they stepped down from public duties in March 2020”.

Unsurprisingly, Prince Andrew is at the bottom of the YouGov rankings with a rating of -80. Earlier this year, the Duke of York settled a civil sex abuse case brought against him in the US by Virginia Giuffre, but the allegations, which he has repeatedly denied, appear to have seriously damaged his reputation. 

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